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Robert Morris Starts Sluggish, Escapes with 7th NEC Win Over Bryant, 64-54



MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Robert Morris used a strong second half to win its second straight NEC game on Thursday night against the Bryant Bulldogs, 64-54.

With under 10 seconds remaining in the first half, sporting his bright yellow SpongeBob socks, Robert Morris senior guard Josh Williams broke down his defender at the top of the key and let a shot fly. Swish.

Before that shot, Robert Morris [11-11, 7-2 NEC] and Bryant [10-11, 2-6 NEC] both got off to rough starts, shooting a combined 3-of-25 from the field in the first 9-minutes of the game. An AJ Bramah ferocious throwdown ended that drought with 11:13 remaining in the half.

In the first half Bryant shot 5-of-25 [20%], and Robert Morris wasn’t much better, going 10-of-33 [30.3%] from the field.

“We did a really good job defensively, especially in the first half,” RMU coach Andy Toole said. “We weren’t making some shots early on. We were trying to figure out offensively what we needed to do. [But] I was really proud and impressed with the way [we] continued to defend.”

Williams’ shot at the halftime buzzer turned things around for the Colonials in the second frame and gave them some much-needed confidence on the offensive end.

Starting point guard Dante Treacy had to be helped off the floor in the ladder half of the first half, as he grimaced in pain while holding onto his lower leg

But Treacy came back on the court to start the second half and drilled a 3-pointer on the Colonials’ second possession, and RMU began to play with some offensive flow. On the next possession, guard Jon Williams answered with a three of his own and brother Josh followed the trend and made his third 3 of the game.

The Colonials made 10-of-23 attempts from beyond the arc.

With the hot second-half start, RMU got out to a 13-point lead [its largest of the game], but Bryant never went away. The Bulldogs cut the lead to just three points with 12:34 remaining.

But Josh Williams was just getting started. Josh finished a reverse lay-up in transition and canned two more from long range.

Williams finished with a game-high 21 points [5-of-6 from the 3-point line] and four steals.

“It’s good to be back home,” Williams said after his shooting woes in the Colonials’ last four contests. “[It’s good] to get a new feel for the ball again.”

AJ Bramah scored in double-figures [14 points] for the 17th consecutive game and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead RMU down low. Bramah has been filling the stat sheet throughout conference play, especially in the Colonials’ last four games, where he’s averaging 17.3 points and 13.8 rebounds.

“[Bramah’s] just continuing to try to push things forward,” Toole said, alluding to the face that they don’t even run many plays for the big man and that he’s just hustling non-stop.

“He’s just playing basketball.”

Throughout the final 20-minutes, Bryant stabbed into the double-digit lead that RMU held, but both Bramah and Williams had the answers. But again, it was back just a one-possession game with 2:31 left after a Bulldogs made 3-pointer.

Coming into Thursday, Bryant guard Adam Grant had averaged 18.6 points per game. The Colonials held him scoreless in the first half, and he finished the game with 11 points [0-of-7 from three].

That still never made it easy for RMU. But they made 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to secure the win.

They now have won two-consecutive NEC games and will host Central Connecticut on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 1 p.m.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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